Character waiver for INZ – September 2021 and beyond

The lawyers at QCL have dealt with literally hundreds of Character Waiver applications over a timespan totalling almost 3 decades. In order to be considered for a resident visa in New Zealand, one must be of good character and in good health.

One of the questions in INZ’s application forms is “Have you, or anyone included in this application, been convicted at any time of any offence, including any driving offence? Please note that this includes any conviction(s) outside of New Zealand subsequently cleared or wiped by ‘clean slate’ legislation.” Honesty is the best policy.

Some of the considerations INZ may take into account when considering whether or not to grant a Character Waiver include:

  1. convictions at any time of any offence against the immigration, citizenship or passport laws of any country; or
  2. convictions at any time of any offence involving prohibited drugs; or
  3. convictions at any time of any offence involving dishonesty; or
  4. convictions at any time of any offence of a sexual nature; or
  5. convictions at any time of any offence for which they were sentenced to a term of imprisonment (whether the sentence was of immediate effect or was deferred or was suspended in whole or in part); or
  6. convictions (whether in New Zealand or not) of an offence committed at any time when the applicant was in New Zealand unlawfully or was the holder of a temporary entry class visa or held a temporary permit under the Immigration Act 1987 or was exempt under that Act from the requirement to hold a permit, being an offence for which the court has power to impose imprisonment for a term of three months or more; or
  7. convictions at any time of any offence involving violence; or
  8. convictions at any time during the last five years, of an offence (including a traffic offence), involving dangerous driving, driving having consumed excessive alcohol (including drunk driving and driving with a blood or breath alcohol content in excess of a specified limit) or driving having consumed drugs; or
  9. in the course of applying for a New Zealand visa (or a permit under the Immigration Act 1987), has made any statement or provided any information, evidence or submission that was false, misleading or forged, or withheld material information; or
  10. at any time in a public speech or public comments, or public broadcast, or in publicly distributing or publishing a document;
    1. argues that one race or colour is inherently inferior or superior to another race or colour; or
    2. used language intended to encourage hostility or ill will against any person or group of persons on the basis of colour, race or ethnic or national origins of that person or group; or
  11. has been, or is, a member of (or adheres or has adhered to) any organisation or group of people which (at the time of the person’s membership or adherence) had objectives or principles based on:
    1. hostility against people or groups of people on the basis of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins; or
    2. an assumption that persons of a particular race or colour are inherently inferior or superior to other races or colours; or
  12. in support of any application by another person for a New Zealand visa (or a permit under the Immigration Act 1987), has made any statement or provided any information, evidence or submission that was false, misleading or forged.

A couple of successful Character Waivers or Ministerial Special Directions include successfully obtaining residency for a CEO (USA) of a multinational public listed company convicted for marijuana offences, and obtaining residency for a man who shot a woman in the head in Italy, who was found to be criminally insane at the time.

We have vast experience in this area and instructing us could seriously make all the difference to whether or not an outcome is successful or not.

Some of our lawyers present quite regularly at national law conferences on such topics. If you search “character waiver” on our website you will find several related topics.

If you require any additional information, please email marcus@qcl.co.nz or jack@qcl.co.nz or bradley@qcl.co.nz, or call us on +64 9 970 8810 or 0274 877 332.